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Sunday, December 28, 2008

More than a friendly

KOTA KINABALU: The Rhinos have been told to show their true colours when they take on Keningau Mixed (a combination of MU FC and Fokus Niaga FC) in a friendly at the Keningau Stadium tonight.

“We made this effort to bring them to Keningau not just for a friendly game,” said Fokus Niaga FC team manager Nik Nadzri on behalf of the organiser yesterday.

“Most importantly we want them to show an example to our youngsters in Keningau and its surrounding areas like Tenom and Tambunan so that it could help instill the spirit of wanting to contribute to the State and in this case football.

“We also hope that this friendly would help educate our youngsters to be more professional in the game.

“We also believe that this could help create greater interest among the people to be more active in the sport.

“Besides that it would also enable the people in Keningau to see for themselves the team that would spearhead the State’s challenge in the upcoming new season.

“In line with that, it is our hope to see the State team giving their best in the game and showing off what they are capable of,” Nik Nadzri added.

On the friendly, he said that it is a joint-effort made by Fokus Niaga FC and MU FC, who is managed by Ramadin Mohd Yassin.

Nik Nadzri said that there will be no big names in the Keningau Mixed.

“With the exception of Ronnie Edward and Faisal, the rest of the players are all local talents,” said Nik Nadzri.

Both Ronnie and Faisal are former Reserve League players.

Keningau Mixed will surely get their wish granted as Rhinos’ team manager Rahman Zakaria insisted that they will not take the game lightly.

He said that they would certainly parade their best first 11 for the game.

“We will try our best not to disappoint the Keningau fans. Furthermore we also want to take this opportunity to promote the State team.

“What we want in this game is quality and we expect the team to give their maximum best.

“We will try to show to the people of Keningau that we are a Premier League outfit, and despite this being just a friendly game, we will treat this match as important as any other match,” Rahman pointed out.

Rahman then predicts that this is going to be an exciting game. “I hope the fans will not miss this opportunity. We hope that after they know what their team is capable off, they will not hesitate to give their support to the team when we play a home game in Likas during our Premier League challenge.”

Alto Linus looks set to make his first appearance in the Rhinos’ colours in front of his home fans. The Keningau-born striker is likely to start in the Rhinos’ attack together with former international Zainizam Marjan or new signing from Kinabatangan Hamidin Amat.

Azrul Ejati Damsah and Mohd Farid Saibun are the other options in attack.

Another Keningau lad, Harold John is also likely to see action. However, first choice custodian Irwan Jamil is the likely choice to start the game with Harold likely to come in, in the second half.

In midfield, the Rhinos’ head coach Wathiq Naji has to pick between Wong Sai Kong, Rezuan Aman Khan, Mohd Radzi Hussin, Billyton Vun Ket Ming, Awang Norizan Ensim, Leopold Alphonso, Selyvister Saini and Clarrey Tabad to form his four-man engine room.

In the backline, Gasili Pengalot, Mohd Fariss, Mafry Balang and Hardy Charles Parsi are his likely choice, with Mohd June Azral Lalah and Henry Parsi starting from the bench.

Zulamri Muhammad and Rosdin Wasli are the only two Rhinos that will not feature in the game. Zulamri is nursing a hamstring injury while Rosdin is recuperating from a knee operation.

For tonight’s clash that kicks off at 7.30pm, the organiser is charging a minimal entry fee of RM5.

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